Is the Which? fight for broadband speed guarantees right?

Posted on Jun 24 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the Which? fight for broadband speed guarantees right?

Last year we discussed the campaign being led by ‘Which?’ demanding guaranteed broadband speeds and slating a number of the larger ISPs for not delivering what their headline advertised speeds promised. Unfortunately, whilst we ISP types are well aware that it’s simply not that easy to ‘guarantee’ broadband speeds, Which? has reignited its campaign and whilst its intentions are good, the demands simply aren’t feasible.

Based on a recent report from Ofcom which sampled approx. 2000 connections Which? has used the findings to further promote its campaign to convince the ASA to change the current advertising guidelines governing broadband speeds. Currently, ISPs are required to advertise headline speed claims based on actual speeds achieved by at least 10% of their customer base. Which? argues that this recent survey shows ISPs are not conforming to these guidelines, which the ISPs dispute. It is also demanding a tougher ‘majority’ based calculation, wants providers to back up arguably generic statements such as ‘superfast’ with actual speed information and requests a crackdown by regulators on confusing adverts.

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Should BT be forced to open up access to its dark fibre?

Posted on Jun 09 2015 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on Should BT be forced to open up access to its dark fibre?
Categories : BT, Ethernet, Fibre, Ofcom
Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

In a recent u-turn following their latest Business Connectivity Market Review, Ofcom is proposing that ISPs offering leased lines be granted physical access to BTs ‘dark fibre’, something it disregarded during its previous review in 2012. So, should BT be forced to open up its dark fibre to competitors and how could it affect the industry?

What is dark fibre?
In simple terms, dark fibre is the ‘un-lit’ (unused) fibre optic lines that have already been implemented by a carrier to provide spare capacity for coping with future demand. By allowing access to this fibre, the competing Communications Provider can install its own equipment at either end, taking full charge of the solution on a wholesale basis.

The carriers that have invested in the implementation of this fibre to enhance their own networks and ensure future scalability are obviously upset by the recent proposals and argue that they should not be forced to provide competitor access to this ‘dark fibre’- after all, they are clearly trying to protect their investments.

A recent open letter sent by BT, Virgin Media and Kingston Communications warned Ofcom that such actions could lead to higher prices and “significant regulatory uncertainty, undermining the return on sunk investments and therefore dis-incentivising future infrastructure investments“. It also states that “allowing multiple operators to tamper with the physical network will cause service faults for customers“.

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Poll: Are you ready for the consumer broadband switching process changes?

Posted on Jun 02 2015 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: Are you ready for the consumer broadband switching process changes?
Categories : Broadband, Ofcom, Polls

Later this month, on 20th June, the process used to change broadband providers will change significantly in line with Ofcom’s new guidelines. We discussed our views on the new process and the management of the switch over in detail in our article “The MAC system: If it’s not broke..?” but we’d like to know if you feel prepared for the new system. Please share your thoughts by participating in our new poll. You can also leave us a comment below.

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Meet the author – Paul Heritage-Redpath

Posted on Aug 19 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Meet the author – Paul Heritage-Redpath

We thought it was about time you got to know a bit more about the authors of this blog, their areas of expertise and what makes them tick. After all, you’re spending your valuable time reading what they have to say and listening to their opinions! Therefore, we plan to periodically publish a ‘Meet the Author’ article to help you get to know each one a little better. We’ll kick it off with Paul Heritage-Redpath, Entanet’s Product Manager…

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

How long have you worked at Entanet Paul?

2 years 6 months – which doesn’t seem like 5 minutes…

What are your key responsibilities within the business and what are your areas of expertise?

As Product Manager at Entanet I am responsible for ensuring we deliver the right voice and data products to our partners to empower them to succeed. That breaks down into four main areas: providing market insight to the management team; defining and testing the feasibility of new products; managing their development and launch including pricing and then monitoring their success in-life and retiring products as necessary. Expertise – being the go-to person on the details of our portfolio means life is never dull, as things change all the time.

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Improving ADR with ISPA

Posted on Aug 05 2014 by Guest | Comments Off on Improving ADR with ISPA
Categories : ADR, Government, Ofcom, Reselling

Along with many of our peers we have been dissatisfied with the current Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme for a while now. Whilst we appreciate the importance of an ADR scheme, we believe the current process is unfairly biased against the ISP who has to foot the bill regardless of the outcome, provides little to no feedback on rulings and is too easily abused by consumers. That’s why we were delighted to hear ISPA are working alongside Government and OFCOM to improve the current system, and we were even more delighted when ISPA offered to discuss their improvement plans with us in a guest blog. Andrew Kernahan, Public Affairs Manager at ISPA explains…

Paul

Andrew Kernahan, Public Affairs Manager, ISPA

The Communications Act made belonging to an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme a legal requirement for all telecommunications providers for consumer customers and businesses of less than 10 employees. There are two Ofcom-approved providers, CISAS and Ombudsman Services, with ISPA members entitled to free CISAS membership as part of ISPA membership. ISPA also takes complaints from members’ customers as a way of managing a customer complaint before going to ADR, and we think this has saved members a lot of time and money over the years.

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The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Posted on Jul 02 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (part 2)

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for……the second part of our A-Z, or should that be K-Z of industry issues!

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

K – Kids and protecting them online

How do we effectively protect our children online? Where does parental responsibility end and parental controls begin? It’s a fine balancing act and an important one. Whilst we commend the largest consumer focused ISPs for providing free parental controls to help guard against unsuitable material for minors, it’s not the end of the story. This needs to be backed up with education and parental responsibility. This site contains some useful advice: http://www.saferinternet.org/safer-internet-day.

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Give us broadband speed guaranteed

Posted on Mar 27 2014 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 2 Comments
Categories : Ofcom, Regulation

Consumer magazine ‘Which?’ has launched a new campaign in a bid to empower consumers against poor broadband after surveying  2,012 UK adults online, and finding ‘63% still experience problems with their broadband and 45% claimed to suffer slow downloads speeds’.

The foundation of their campaign is as follows:

1. Give customers written speed estimates at the start of the contract.

2. Allow people to exit contracts without penalty if they don’t get that speed.

3. Fix loss of connection as quickly as possible and refund people for loss of service.

4. Cut out the jargon – give consumers information they understand and take responsibility for fixing problems.

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2013 – The year of unrealistic plans

Posted on Dec 18 2013 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2013 – The year of unrealistic plans

This year hasn’t been too shabby for the UK. We witnessed the proud moment when Andy Murray lifted the Wimbledon trophy in July and subsequently winning Sports Personality of the year. We also waited in anticipation as Prince George was presented to the world by William and Kate.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Meanwhile in the UK comms industry, it seems the year has been full of the Government’s unrealistic plans. Here’s a little reminder of some of the key events.

The Snooper’s Charter

The draft Communications Data Bill, also known as the “snoopers’ charter” was first proposed by the Home Office back in June 2012. It was described as a ‘vital tool’ to help police and snoopers catch paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals.

The Bill, which expanded on the existing Internet snooping laws (RIPA), required ISPs to collate information by law on the activities of customers and store the information for up to a year. Authorisation to access this information was self-authorised by senior members of the police, intelligence agencies and the tax agency.

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uSwitch demand Ofcom to bring back paper billing?!

Posted on Oct 29 2013 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment
Categories : Ofcom

According to The Daily Green, “It’s been estimated that the average household can save 24-square feet of forest — about two trees, left to grow for 10 years — in the first year of using paperless billing”.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

As a forward thinking company, we are only too aware of the importance of being as “green” as we can be. We recycle; we encourage lift sharing where possible and even have our own intuitive partner portal, synergi where partners can bill their customers easily, efficiently and electronically.

Yet despite this, uSwitch, one of the biggest independent price comparison and switching services is calling on Ofcom to force ISPs to introduce annual paper statements.

uSwitch believes that many consumers are “struggling to pay their bills” and simply don’t know or don’t have the time to find out when their contract ends. Research conducted on 1,649 adults online with the uSwitch consumer opinion panel revealed that 87% of broadband customers want annual statements to show their contract end dates and 89% of broadband customers and 86% of mobile customers want to see a prediction of what they would pay next year if they didn’t switch.

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Are Ofcom’s migration plans right?

Posted on Aug 15 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Are Ofcom’s migration plans right?
Categories : Government, Ofcom, Regulation

Last week Ofcom called for consultation on its proposed change to the procedure employed when consumers wish to move their voice and broadband service to a different service provider.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Currently if consumers want to switch, their existing provider is actively involved in the switching process. Ofcom argues that ‘such a process can give too much control to the existing provider, which has an incentive to delay or disrupt the transfer’. Instead Ofcom seeks harmonisation to a Gaining Provider Led system.

Ofcom’s Switching Consultation

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